During the presidency of Lula Da Silva, billions of dollars in bribes were taken to allow construction companies to overcharge the government-owned oil company, Petrobras. Now, Brazil has corruption, but it's actually pretty good for a developing country. But the people of Brazil have come to expect more, and they have been left down.
Current president, Dilma Rousseff, was chairwoman of Petrobras during the period of corruption, but no one knows whether Lula or Dilma were involved or aware. But Lula was under investigation before Rousseff appointed him to be her chief of staff, a move that means he can no longer be prosecuted by a normal court.
I think this whole thing speaks very highly of Brazil. A reckoning had to come, and I'm pleased the citizens are holding the government accountable. However, I can't stop seeing parallels between the awful partisan situation here in the U.S. and the lack of skepticism people in this story have when it comes to believing awful things about their political opponents.
Using this scandal to clean up Brazil must be done, but using it to score political points or gain power is going to rip the country apart.
This is an epic story, and no one knows where it ends. Whether Rousseff retains power and who gets elected once the house is fully cleaned out will say a lot about how this very young democracy handles its economic and cultural growth when people's perceptions are controlled largely by social media.
I think there are many good things in Brazil's future, but leaders will have to do more than fight for power. They will have to actually lead.
Alex Cuadros: https://twitter.com/alexcuadros
Rafael Prince: https://twitter.com/rafaelprince
And all of the Nerdfighters at Nerdfighters Brasil on Facebook.
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